How legitimate expectations matter in climate justice

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (4):369-393 (2014)
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Abstract

Expectations play an important role in how people plan their lives and pursue their projects. People living in highly industrialized countries share a way of life that comes with high levels of emissions. Their expectations to be able to continue their projects imply their holding expectations to similarly high future levels of personal emissions. We argue that the frustration or undermining of these expectations would cause them significant harm. Further, the article investigates under what conditions people can be thought to hold legitimate expectations, in particular about permissible levels of future emissions. We distinguish differing theories of understanding these conditions, namely authority-based and justice-based theories, that each allows us to systematically distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate expectations. Furthermore, with respect to individuals’ future permissible emissions we give several reasons for holding that such theories cannot identify a particular expectation to a specific level of personal emissions as the only legitimate one. Finally, we argue that the set of legitimate expectations that people hold with respect to a just and effective solution to climate change has normative significance in at least two ways: the differing but equally legitimate expectations ought to be taken into account when justifying what could count as such a solution and when determining the just way of arriving at and implementing such a solution.

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Author Profiles

Pranay Sanklecha
University of Graz
Lukas Meyer
University of Graz

References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.

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